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Out in the townships of South Africa’s Western Cape, unemployment can run at 44 per cent. Entire households may depend on a single old age pension for food. Gang violence leaves people wary of being robbed on the way to a clinic appointment.
With life so chaotic and stressful for many, remembering to take your hypertension medication may seem like a small side issue. But while HIV and TB are epidemic in many communities, there is also a creeping rise in chronic lifestyle diseases. These include hypertension, now the leading cause of death and disability worldwide. According to the South African Medical Research Council, 6.2 million people in a population of 52 million have high blood pressure and 3.2 million have unacceptably high levels, heightening the risk of heart attacks and strokes.